INFORMATION SEARCH TECHNOLOGIES AND ACADEMIC LIBRARY DATABASES IN A NIGERIAN UNIVERSITY OF TECHNOLOGY.

Author:Chukwu, Scholastica
Position:Report
 
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Introduction:

Academic libraries exist in tertiary institutions to support, teaching, learning, and research. In recent years, the advent of the World Wide Web in academic libraries services have transformed the way information is accessed. Thus, academic libraries are faced with the proliferation of search technologies such as Google, Bing, Ask.com, Directory databases and MSN, etc. Search technologies are highly complex software systems that employ technology that has evolved over the years (Wikipedia). To Patel and Dave (2016), Search technology has altered the traditional role of libraries thus attention is more on electronic systems, online assistance, navigation help and conversion issues but not so in developing countries such as Nigeria. Vasu (2014) asserts that, with a whole range of general information search technologies, library users have the opportunity to use various search available to approach the world of information.

Academic libraries in Nigeria subscribe to and acquire many databases and print resources for the sole benefit of its users to accomplish research and other educational activities. Be that as it may, library users especially the postgraduate students still prefer the search engines to the databases and also print materials acquired by the academic library. These Search engines have brought unprecedented changes and transformation to information seeking and use. Lossau (2004) observes that while librarians are mostly worried about the type of information covered by established search indexes, postgraduate students prefer these new tools and makes use of them for any information search. Therefore, it is in this competitive situation that libraries need to see things much more from the perspective of the users.

Background to the study.

The Library, Federal University of Technology, Owerri, at its inception on 3rd August 1981 at the temporary site at Lake Nwabere campus; opened its doors to readers on 9th November 1981 with approximately 2,500 volumes of books and related materials. The Library has grown in all the facets of its operation since the Library moved along with the University to its permanent site on 17th May 1993. Today the library collection is over 90,000 volumes of books, Journal (electronic and hardcopy), documents and maps.

As part of the Library development, the Library is automated with access provided through Alexandria automation library software; Online Public Access Catalogue (OPAC). Access is provided for both online and offline databases namely: The Essential Electronic Agricultural Library (TEEAL); Access to Global Online Research in Agriculture (AGORA); Health Internetwork Access to Research Initiative (HINARI), Online Access to Research in Environment (OARE), Science Direct, Ebrary, EBSCOhost, and ProQuest. Others contain the open access ones which are free and includes Doaj, Doab, Hindawi. The Institutional Repository of the University is housed in the Library using ENDNOTE and is presently being migrated to DSPACE. Through the Library, electronic access is provided to theses/dissertations, lectures, proceedings, journals and textbooks emanating from the University. The library research commons space is established for the postgraduate student's research.

Problem statement.

It is an undeniable fact that accessing library subscribed databases offer an opportunity for students to obtain relevant and accurate information promptly. The Federal University of Technology Owerri Library subscribes to many databases to provide access to scholarly information to their users. However, despite these acquired databases by the library to assist in research and academic work, statistics show that usage of these databases are low. Hence the need to determine the effect of search engines on library subscribed databases in Federal University of Technology Owerri library

Objectives

The broad objective of this study is to access the impact of search technologies on academic library databases in Federal University of Technology Owerri, and the specific goals include

  1. To identify the type of search technologies used by postgraduate students of FUTO

  2. To determine the type of library subscribed databases postgraduate students of FUTO are aware of and use

  3. To identify the challenges, postgraduate students encounter in the use of library subscribed databases.

  4. To proffer Suggestions on the way forward.

Literature review

Within the last decade, information and communication technology has permeated the entire society and...

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